Technologizer posts about Advertising

Samsung’s Super Bowl commercial for the Galaxy Note, directed by a Farrelly brother, is like a fancier, less entertaining parody of its earlier Apple fan-bashing spots:

While the first ads featured the Galaxy S II phone, a direct competitor of the iPhone 4S, this one is for the Galaxy Note. With its huge screen and pen, it’s both an anti-iPhone and one of the most distinctive phones on the market. So the gag feels a little muffled, and the Note doesn’t get enough explanation.

I’m still curious how the Galaxy Note will do–it strikes me as neat, but a niche. But the fact that Samsung plowed money into a Super Bowl spot presumably means that it thinks the phone can be a mainstream hit.

Posted by Harry at 7:37 am

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The Times of Kodak’s Life

By  |  Posted at 1:51 am on Thursday, January 19, 2012

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So Eastman Kodak has declared bankruptcy. Right now, Twitter is like a wake for this most beloved of American companies. I refuse to speak of Kodak in the past tense, though: bankruptcy protection is not a death sentence, and when it says, as it does in its press release, that it intends to “emerge a lean, world-class, digital imaging and materials science company,” I’m rooting for it to do exactly that.

But like everyone else who grew up shooting Kodak film–often in a Kodak camera–I’m feeling wistful about the brand and what it’s meant to me and the world. How about watching a few vintage commercials, including two versions of the once-famous tear-jerker “Turn Around” and ones starring the Nelsons, the cast of Bewitched, Michael Landon, and Bill Cosby?

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Google Makes a Mess With King Arthur Flour

By  |  Posted at 12:14 pm on Tuesday, January 3, 2012

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[UPDATE: Google isn't just eating crow about this, but is also punishing itself, by demoting Chrome in Google search results. According to a company statement:

We've investigated and are taking manual action to demote and lower the site’s PageRank for a period of at least 60 days. We strive to enforce Google’s webmaster guidelines consistently in order to provide better search results for users. While Google did not authorize this campaign, and we can find no remaining violations of our webmaster guidelines, we believe Google should be held to a higher standard, so we have taken stricter action than we would against a typical site.

As I explain below, I think that the possibility of skewed search results was only one iffy aspect of this campaign, but it's good to see Google hold itself accountable.]

Yesterday, Aaron Wall and Danny Sullivan reported on an odd Google marketing campaign–okay, a troubling one–that apparently involved Google paying bloggers to publish posts that embedded a Google video featuring Vermont flour maker King Arthur Flour. The effort got mentions of Chrome onto hundreds of blogs–albeit hasty, lame references in at least some cases–and also looked like it might have been designed to juice Chrome’s Google rankings.

Today, Google is disowning the campaign, which it says was conducted without its knowledge by a company with the apt name Unruly Media. Unruly says that it didn’t intend to affect search rankings. But even if it didn’t, the notion of Google products being promoted through subsidized blog posts–abysmal subsidized blog posts–is painfully cheesy.

(It reminds me of Ogilvy’s plans to pay bloggers to write about LG Electronics, which I wrote about recently.)

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Microsoft’s “NuAds” for Kinect: Hey, Whatever Brings the Content

By  |  Posted at 4:15 pm on Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Microsoft’s got more ideas in store for Kinect, the motion-sensing Xbox 360 camera that launched last fall. This week, the company announced a lofty goal to create interactive advertising powered by voice and gestures.

Microsoft is calling them “NuAds,” and has walked through a few examples on the Microsoft Advertising blog. During an ad for Coke, for example, the user can say “Xbox Tweet” to share the ad on Twitter. An ad for Toyota might allow the user to say “Xbox Near Me” and find nearby dealerships, and an ad for another TV broadcast might let the user schedule a calendar reminder by saying “Xbox Schedule.”

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one who feels queasy at the sight of more intrusive ads in the name of “audience engagement” and “social advocacy,” but there is a silver lining here: If this is what helps Microsoft lure advertisers — and by extension content providers — to Internet television, then it’s all good.

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Like 70 percent of YouTube users, I don’t skip past the pre-roll ads on videos. That’s because until I read this article, I didn’t realize you could skip past the ads.

Posted by Harry at 10:04 am

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Ad-Supported Kindle’s a Hit, and Now It’s 3G, Too

By  |  Posted at 9:59 pm on Tuesday, May 24, 2011


Turns out, people will gladly stare at an occasional ad on their Kindles to save a little money.

Amazon’s Kindle with Special Offers, an e-reader that shows advertisements and discounts on its home screen, is now available with a 3G connection. Like the Wi-Fi model, the 3G Kindle with Special Offers is $25 cheaper than its ad-free counterpart, selling for $164. The Wi-Fi version sells for $114.

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Twitter Tests New Text Ads

By  |  Posted at 5:39 pm on Friday, April 29, 2011


Twitter is continuing to monetize its service, and yes, that means more ads. They’re now appearing below the trends listings, in the section that has up until now been reserved for promoting various features of the company’s service or its own products, points out Tech Inspiration. The new ads also break with Twitter tradition by not clearly labeling the content as advertising: the only evidence that they are comes from the HTML code of the page.

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If you’re bummed out about Cisco axing the Flip, don’t visit San Francisco–ads like this one (in a photo I took yesterday) are a sad reminder of how recently the product appeared to be an extremely viable entity.

Posted by Harry at 6:37 am

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Samsung’s Fake Real People Remind Me of Microsoft’s Real Fake People

By  |  Posted at 4:27 pm on Saturday, March 26, 2011

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AppleInsider’s Daniel Eran Dilger has posted a follow-up to my story of Samsung’s “true-life” Galaxy Tab fans who happen to be actors. To put things in perspective, he mentions Lauren, the star of a 2009 Microsoft “real person” ad who also had acting experience. (To be fair to Microsoft, the same ad campaign included other ads with non-thespian real people.) He also goes way back to a 2002 item on Microsoft’s site that seemed to be a true-life story of a Mac user being lured to Windows XP, but was really done by a freelance writer and illustrated with a stock photo.

But my favorite you-can’t-be-serious example of Microsoft marketing–and one which reminds me of the vibe of Samsung’s video–is the 2009 video explaining how to hold a Windows 7 launch party at your home. I don’t think Microsoft intended anyone to believe that its Windows 7 fans were anything but paid performers, but I’m pretty sure that Samsung’s Joan Hess and Joe Kolinski live the same planned community as these people…

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Skype is adding (relatively unobtrusive) banner advertising–a move it’s kind of surprising it didn’t make years ago with its free version.

Posted by Harry at 9:00 am

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What’s that? You say we haven’t celebrated today’s Legend of Zelda anniversary sufficiently yet? Oh, okay, watch this commercial:

(Thanks to Andrew Leal for finding this.)

Posted by Harry at 5:36 pm

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Silly Old PC Ads

By  |  Posted at 11:26 pm on Thursday, February 17, 2011


Yesterday, I visited 410 Townsend, a building in San Francisco’s SOMA district, and was startled to discover that its lobby is festooned with large framed computer advertisements–really old. amusing ones from the 1980s. The building is home to a bevy of tech-related companies: Sony, Playdom, TechCrunch, Yammer, and others. I don’t know whether one of them put these up, or if they’re part of the landlord’s decor, but I loved them…and I snapped bad iPhone photos of three of them to share with you, including a sort of proto-”Think Different” ad in which Ben Franklin endorses the Apple II, a TRS-80 ad with Issac Asimov, and one for Atari’s Stacy (a portable computer that took 12 C cells and drained them in 15 minutes).

They’re after the jump for your enjoyment.

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Twitter’s Ad Revenues Expected to Triple by 2012

By  |  Posted at 1:04 pm on Monday, January 24, 2011

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It seems like it was only yesterday that all the analysts were saying that Twitter was doomed because it couldn’t make money. But times have changed: research firm eMarketer says the social networking service could bring in $150 million this year, and $250 million in 2012. Those numbers would be a significant increase over the estimated $45 million in ad revenues this past year.

One  of Twitter’s challenges was figuring out how it to monetize the service without cluttering its users’ timelines with ads. Thus it has gone a different route through “promoted” tweets, which it introduced in April of last year. And while the company hasn’t provided too many details, it looks like it’s seriously considering other money-generating strategies as well.

eMarketer seems to think so too, saying the tripling of ad revenues will have a lot to do with a self-service ad feature that the firm expects to be launched in 2011. Other companies such as Microsoft and Google have built siginficant advertising business, supported in large part by the self-service platforms both companies have built and maintained.

Advertising was something that I think we all knew was eventually going to come to Twitter. A company can grow at Twitter’s astronomical rate only so long without a solid source of revenue. Let’s just hope whatever it decides to do is not disruptive to the user experience.

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Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan does great legwork on the story I wrote about earlier today: Facebook says the company isn’t its third largest advertiser (and in fact was never an advertiser), and Bing says it’s terminating its affiliate relationship.

Posted by Harry at 11:57 am

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